Early Bird Special


In preparation for our impending move, I've been looking at everything we own and asking myself, "Do I really want to move it?" Turns out, I often don't!

So, we had yet another garage sale. That's the third in less than a year. I've come to learn a little about the garage-saling community over these past months.

There are those that come for specific items, like clothes for their kids or books or garden tools.

Then there are those who are just out scouting for deals, often to resell on EBay. A lot of them know each other, too. I overheard some talking about the great deals they'd gotten last week, what sales they'd hit today already, where they were going next. Who knew!

And, last but oh so definitely not least, are the Early Birds. They show up before you've even got your stuff set up, let alone priced. I get all frazzled, because more often than not they hover and shadow me, asking how much stuff is, and I have no effing clue.

At our last sale, this one guy was there and hour and a half before the advertised time, and hung out for hours. He and his beady little eyes were making me nervous; I was starting to think that maybe he was going to stay all day and then club us over the heads and take our loot.

Instead, he drove off with a pick-up truck full of furniture, bicycles, accessories and who knows what else for next to nothing. We essentially gave him hundreds of dollars worth of stuff (and I'm talking at garage sale prices, NOT retail) to get rid of him. Sucked.

Yesterday I had a different Early Bird experience. This lady was super nice and chatty and seemed totally normal. She bought a bunch of stuff, packed it in her car, and I thought she'd redeemed my opinion of the average Early Birder. I'd even given her a bunch of free stuff because she'd told me some story about helping an exchange student furnish their dorm room. Sucker.

But then she came back asked about the clothes; I was selling a bunch of stuff I haven't worn in ages. I told her, "Most of the stuff is 25 cents a piece, except for the evening wear...that's priced individually. "

The thing is, this woman was probably five inches shorter than me and far heavier. Nothing I was selling was going to fit her.

A few minutes later she was scurrying to her car, her arms laden with clothes. I thought I saw the purple of one of my "individually priced" dresses. I asked her if she was buying the clothes, and she said, "Oh, I already paid him," over her shoulder as she jumped in her car and zoomed off.

I walked back to where my clothes were and sure enough, she'd taken every last one of my fabulous dresses, including several designer names. I looked around, and the only "him" that she could have paid was my ten year-old son; my husband must have gone inside.

"Did that lady pay you for the clothes?" I asked him.

"Yup! Three dollars!"

She knew what she was doing. She walked away with hundreds of dollars worth of dresses. Literally. I was going to sell some on EBay if I couldn't fetch a decent amount for them at the garage sale.

What kind of a person does that?


Where I whine and complain


Two mornings ago I awoke to an incredibly loud PHWAP - PHWAP - PHWAP outside. I looked out the window, and there was a huge helicopter flying over my home. It had two big propellers and clearly it meant business. Serious fire-fighting business.

Yesterday I was driving with the windows open, and I pulled up to an intersection. I realized the guy in the car next had a cigarette in his hand, which was dangling out his window. And I didn't smell it.

Today I walked outside and was immediately hit by the scent of a bonfire...but, of course, it's not a bonfire. It's the smoke that's settling all over Northern California because there are too many wildfires for them to even keep count.

Our normally Mediterranean blue skies are grey. Our cars are covered with a fine layer of soot.

I know I shouldn't complain; none are near us and we are in no danger. But still, it sucks. We are cloistering indoors because outside it smells like a bar from my college years.

But we're going to make the best of it...we are going to grab some snacks and snuggle on the couch and watch Tootsie. Why Tootsie? Because yesterday it arrived in the mail from my bloggy buddy Neil, who kicks my ass at Pathwords on Facebook yet liked this post of mine enough to reward it with a movie.

By the way...did you notice that I'm all dot-commy now? Adios, .blogspot.com! I'm running with the big dogs now. Well, nipping at their heals. Okay, I can see them way up there, I think. Or maybe that's an illusion from the smoke.


David Mamet, David Schmamet.



Christine has a few posts in draft (that will likely never be seen) about the weekend. They are all brilliant and erudite. Really, stuff David Mamet would drool over.

But, right now, she wants to dig deep into her mommyblogger self and talk about what really matters to her at this point in time.

Today, she went to Target. As she made her way to to the kiddie clothes section, she saw an Isaac Mizrahi top that was pretty ding-dang cute!

(to self)

Where the hell is that toy dep...

(to self)

Dang that top is cute!

(to self)

No, not here to buy clothes for me.

(to self...you get it now)

A *quick* zip into the fitting room won't hurt anyone!
Christine grabs her normal size, slips into the fitting


(looking in the mirror...still to self)

Uhhh, no!


I could deal with going from S to M. But this, this is *too much*...


Yes, this is insane. This must be dealt with. This cannot go on, cannot be allowed to continue.


Oh, and you think this time is going to be any different than the last dozen times you've tried to deal with the weight gain?


"Different"? Yes. This time will be 'different'!



Oh, really?


This time BlogHer is less than a month away. I can't have this fat face all over the interwebs...

Sssshhh...you know better than to indulge in that negative speak. You're beautiful just the way you are!

Christine struggles as she pulls on her own sweatpants.


Cause for celebration?

Well, we finally had a ROCKIN' paycheck. We brought in more today than we had the entire year prior. Yeah, that's how we roll up in here.

It enabled us to get up to date on all of our bills. I never thought I'd be fielding calls from creditors. Contrary to their reputation, they have all been quite understanding and polite. Not one threatening to out us to our neighbors! Woohoo!

Things I did with this paycheck that perhaps I shouldn't have:

1.) Registered for BlogHer. Watch out, San Fransisco...the bloggy geekiness is about to take over.

I've been spending the past decade-plus being a mom first...it's time for me to put ME first and have some fun, dammit!

Rationalization? Check.

2.) Bought a camera. If you know me, you know that this is tantamount to the clouds parting and sucking off the spare poundage I have around my waistline. I've been a photographer without a camera for far too long. After much deliberation, I bought a refurbished Canon 20d. It is compatible with my lenses and hot-shoe flash. It'll take a week at least to get here.

I justify this purchase because I will soon pay for it via free-lance gigs.

Rationalization? Check.

3.) Bought our son a Wii. How crazy is that? Actually, not too insane if you can get into my head and rationalize it like I did. Last year for his birthday we got him a trampoline. It's been much loved by us all...but, sadly, while our pets are welcome at the new home, the trampoline just won't work as the grassy area is too small to accommodate it. So, we're selling it. That will pay for half of the Wii. We're forcing him (man, we are MEAN!) to sell his GameCube...that offsets on extra controller we need.

The rest of the cashola we chucked up to his tenth birthday. But...shhhhh....we bought the Wii on Craigslist for a fraction of its actual cost. Before you get all worried that I was scammed, believe me, I've done my research. The guy we bought it from was a super nice Dad-like dude, and he was doing the same thing we are...making his kid sell some of his belongings so that he could get some expensive toy he wanted. Fate brought us together ~cue angelic tunes~.

Rationalization? Check.

4.) Registered the domain name http://www.watchmenowatchme.com/ . Click it. It works. The transition will be complete soon, and seamless for you. Because I love you.

Plus, its easier to remember.

Rationalization? Check.

5.) I've also put away a little chunk of change to go shopping with the cracker VDog. And by little, I mean super duper tiny. The plan is to meet up next week and get all amped for BlogHer.

Rationalization? Check.

Feeling sick to my stomach? Check.

Woohoo, indeed.


Channeling the eleventh grade me

Dear Diary,

A couple of weeks ago in psychology class, we took one of those personality tests that is supposed to assess your psyche...we answered questions by coloring in circles with our number two (teehee, I said number two!) pencil, and our very essence was summed up by a computer report. Awesome!

Today, our results were returned, and it said I was an introvert. As if! I'm totally an extrovert! Everyone knows it!

I was a transfer student last year to this school and still managed to get elected to Student Council during my second week here! Ha! Take that you big stupid hairy test!

Plus, if I was an introvert, would I have snuck out of my bedroom window, crawled across the roof, shimmied down the chimney to meet my boyfriend to drink beer and play in the sprinklers of the golf course with him and his friends the other night? I don't think so. An introvert would rather huddle under their covers, reading Sylvia Plath or something. But me, when those pebbles started hitting my window, I went for it. I was scared shitless that my dad would catch me, but it was worth the risk. NOT what an introvert would do!

Would an introvert hang out with the jocks and the burn-outs and the geeks and the NHS kids and students older and younger than me? Doubt it. But I do. Not only that, but I'm not embarrassed by it...when my best burn-out friend is taking mescaline in the bathroom and gives me a hard time for hanging out with my good cheerleader friend, I have no problem turning down her offer to share her stupid drug AND defending my cheerleader friend.

They have way more in common than they realize.

Anyway, I don't know why I'm letting this test bug me. I'm not an introvert. I'm NOT!



P.S.: Paul pinched my butt in the hall after third period!!!


Dear Eleventh Grade Me,

You are an introvert.




Black Coffee in Bed

I had a bit of a hard time falling asleep last night; that often happens to me when I know I have to get up early.  You know that feeling...when you snuggle into bed, look at the clock and think, oh crap.  If I fall asleep right now I'll only get seven hours of sleep.

And it goes downhill from there.  I lie awake and as the minutes tick by I continue to calculate how much sleep I'll get if I fell asleep right now.  Six hours forty-five minutes, six and a half hours, six hours fifteen minutes...

I need a lot of sleep.  I always have.  My husband can pop out of bed and zip to the kitchen, putz around, make coffee, all while whistling happily that another day has started.

Me?  When the light of morning hits my eyes and I realized that I'm beginning to wake up, I groan, fight it, burrow down deeper and try to slip back into my last dream.  Sometimes it works, and I can pick up right where I left off, as if I had cracked open the book I was reading and started the next chapter.

Usually not, though.  Generally when I start to wake up, I have no choice.  My cats seem to sense that I'm waking and the start walking all over me, purring and bamming their heads against mine for attention.  

My M.O. for over a decade now has been to loll in bed (barring those months with newborns)(well, even then sometimes)(okay, usually then, too) while I wait for my hubby to bring me a steaming mug of black coffee.  Once the aroma hits me, I start to get the wherewithall to get my morning started.

In the past couple of weeks, however, my son has been the one to "surprise" me with my cup of coffee.  Each time, I marvel...how did my little boy get to be big enough to carry hot liquids up a set of stairs?

Thing is, he isn't little.  He's ten.  As of today.  The double digits.

Honestly, that's part of the reason I had a hard time falling asleep last night.  Not only was I counting down the hours I had left to sleep, I was also calculating the number of hours it was until the hour of my son's birth the following morning.

Twelve hours, eleven and a half hours, eleven hours...


If I'm not mistaken, today was the first time I kissed a French woman

This morning was the last day of my daughter's preschool class; as it was a special day, and a bittersweet one at that, it was a session primarily without restraints. The kids needed it, the parents needed it, and the teachers needed it.

A lot of the parents worked; I took the reigns in the kitchen. Instead of a set snack time, the kids were allowed to wander into the kitchen and nibble whenever they wanted. I scoured the cupboards and the refrigerator, gathering foodstuff that wouldn't survive the lonely summer months without the laughter of children echoing beyond the closed door of their dark shelves.

I set a table as if I were entertaining company; because really, I was. In the center I arranged bowls overflowing with pretzels and popcorn and sliced apples and goldfish and raisins and all manner of yummy preschool delights. In a nod to being a bit fancy, I schmeared generous amounts of cream cheese on flour tortillas, rolled them up, cut them sushi style, and decorated a platter with them (the kids weren't impressed, but the other volunteering parents gobbled them up).

As I scavenged, cut, poured, rolled and decorated, I watched through the kitchen windows at the children playing outside. There were games played, faces painted, tokens liberally handed out which were then exchanged for "prizes," and of course plenty of cameras flashing.

My daughter flew around the yard, her golden hair (which, par for the course, she refused to allow me to capture in a a pony tail as we got ready for our day), flying behind her. She clutched a paper bag with her name on it; when she first found it in her cubby she wanted nothing to do with it, but once she understood it would soon be filled with trinkets, she was all over it.

She had a rainbow painted on her forehead; that fact made me thrilled because it was a testament to how she's blossomed over the past months. The shy little girl who had started in this school last fall, no matter how much she might have wanted to join in, would have never gathered around a table begging, "Me next! Me next!"

When the morning was drawing to a close, I cleaned up the kitchen and joined my daughter and her class on the big carpet, to gather round for one last time to sing songs and say good-bye. Almost every child was sitting on the lap of a parent; as I looked around I realized how lucky these children are to be in a community with such active and involved parents.

Songs were sung, dances danced, smiles and hugs exchanged.

When it came time for the last song, it was one I hadn't heard before at our school. At first it seemed like another sweet preschool song, which it is...but it isn't just another sweet preschool song. As I listened to the teacher sing, and I allowed to words to seep in, I realized it was a love song she was singing to each and every one of our children, and the class as a whole.

"I remember when you couldn't count to three.

I remember when you were only as high as my knee.

I remember when you were learning how to sit.

I will always love you, every little bit."

Her voice was cracking, and she was putting up a valiant effort against the tears that were straining to be released. The tears were coursing down mine as soon as I looked at her and understood how hard it was for her to let this class go. Around me a lot of the mothers and fathers were also reaching for tissues.

I stayed around late, along with some of the other working parents, to help clean up. When it was time for us to leave, I hugged my daughter's teacher good-bye, and gave her a smooch on her cheek. I resisted the urge to go all European on her and kiss her other cheek, and back again,

"Thank you so much for all you've done this year," she said in her gorgeous Parisian accent.

I think I was able to squeak out my own thank-yous without shedding too many tears.


Getting to know me, getting to know all about me...

I have been extremely fortunate in that since I last wrote this post *ahem*, I have gained a couple of new readers. They deserve (a word I love, okay not really) to know the real me. Here I am:

Top 100 Facts About Watch_me Christine

1. Watch_me Christine was originally cast as the main character in 24, but was replaced by the producers when she managed to kill every terrorist and save the day in 12 minutes and 37 seconds.

2. Watch_me Christine doesn't have to leap tall buildings in a single bound. Tall buildings duck under Watch_me Christine.

3. Watch_me Christine does not believe that there are 50 states, only 2, because where ever she goes becomes a State of Emergency and whenever she leaves, she leaves a State of Destruction

4. If it looks like chicken, tastes like chicken, and feels like chicken but Watch_me Christine says its beef, then it's beef.

5. Watch_me Christine sleeps once every 2 weeks, for half an hour, standing up, with her eyes open, and she looks pissed off.

6. Watch_me Christine invented black. In fact, she invented the entire spectrum of visible light. Except pink. Tom Cruise invented pink.

7. Watch_me Christine does not sleep. She waits.

8. Watch_me Christine does not hunt because the word hunting implies the possibility of failure. Watch_me Christine goes killing.

9. Whenever Watch_me Christine plays Chutes and Ladders, she treats the chutes as ladders, because she's not some sissy who can't climb up a plastic slide.

10. Watch_me Christine is allergic to doorknobs. Thats why she can only kick through doors.

11. Watch_me Christine and Superman once fought each other on a bet. The loser had to start wearing their underwear on the outside of their pants.

12. Watch_me Christine can speak braille.

13. Giraffes were created when Watch_me Christine uppercutted a horse.

14. Watch_me Christine can delete the Recycling Bin.

15. Watch_me Christine's calendar goes straight from March 31st to April 2nd; no one fools Watch_me Christine.

16. When Watch_me Christine deletes files from her computer, she doesn't send them to the Recycle Bin. She sends them to hell.

17. When the Boogeyman goes to sleep every night he checks his closet for Watch_me Christine.

18. The movie Ray is loosely based on the life of Watch_me Christine, only they substituted piano playing for eating toddlers, and blindness for the ability to fly.

19. World champion eater Takeru Kobayashi once ate 53.5 hot dogs in 12 minutes. Allotted the same time, Watch_me Christine ate Kobayashi.

20. Watch_me Christine beat a wall at tennis. Yes. A WALL.

21. Watch_me Christine once visited the Virgin Islands. They are now The Islands.

22. Watch_me Christine sleeps with a night light. Not because Watch_me Christine is afraid of the dark, but the dark is afraid of Watch_me Christine

23. If you play Led Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven" backwards, you will hear Watch_me Christine laughing at you.

24. Watch_me Christine died ten years ago, but the Grim Reaper can't get up the courage to tell her.

25. Watch_me Christine counted to infinity - twice.

26. On a high school math test, Watch_me Christine put down "Violence" as every one of the answers. She got an A+ on the test because Watch_me Christine solves all her problems with Violence.

27. The eternal conundrum "what happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object" was finally solved when Watch_me Christine punched herself in the face.

28. Watch_me Christine can kill two stones with one bird.

29. Watch_me Christine owns the greatest Poker Face of all-time. It helped her win the 1983 World Series of Poker despite her holding just a Joker, a Get out of Jail Free Monopoly card, a 2 of clubs, 7 of spades and a green #4 card from the game Uno.

30. If Watch_me Christine wants some shade, she stares the sun down until it eclipses.

31. Watch_me Christine can do a wheelie on a unicycle.

32. Watch_me Christine has beat the crap out of so many people over her brilliant life that most medical journals now classify her as a laxative.

33. The last man who made eye contact with Watch_me Christine was Ray Charles.

34. Watch_me Christine invented the hammer when she was tired of using her forehead to slam nails into wood.

35. Watch_me Christine can watch a season of "24" in just three hours.

36. You are what you eat. That is why Watch_me Christine's diet consists entirely of bricks, steel, and the tears of small children.

37. Watch_me Christine became a vegetarian not because she loves animals, but because she hates plants.

38. Watch_me Christine was once on Celebrity Wheel of Fortune and was the first to spin. The next 29 minutes of the show consisted of everyone standing around awkwardly, waiting for the wheel to stop.

39. On her birthday, Watch_me Christine randomly selects one lucky child to be thrown into the sun.

40. Watch_me Christine can predict the shuffle on her iPod.

41. Watch_me Christine wears a cup not to protect herself, but to protect the players on the other team.

42. When Watch_me Christine plays any video game, God mode automatically turns on.

43. The popular videogame "Doom" is based loosely around the time Satan borrowed two bucks from Watch_me Christine and forgot to pay her back.

44. Leading hand sanitizers claim they can kill 99.9 percent of germs. Watch_me Christine can kill 100 percent of whatever the heck she wants.

45. Getting murdered by Watch_me Christine counts as a natural cause of death.

46. Watch_me Christine puts the "laughter" in "manslaughter".

47. When Watch_me Christine goes to donate blood, she declines the syringe, and instead requests a hand gun and a bucket.

48. Circles exist because Watch_me Christine beat the crap out of some squares.

49. Watch_me Christine once won a game of Connect Four in 3 moves.

50. Weeping Willows are a result of Watch_me Christine yelling at trees for not being tough enough.

51. Watch_me Christine irons her shirts while she's wearing them.

52. Watch_me Christine destroyed the periodic table, saying Watch_me Christine only recognizes the element of surprise.

53. There are only four horsemen of the apocalypse, because Watch_me Christine is going to walk.

54. Onions do not make Watch_me Christine cry. Watch_me Christine makes onions crap themselves.

55. Watch_me Christine once got caught doing 100 in a 50 zone. The cop did give her a speeding ticket, however Watch_me Christine still pleads her innocence to this day, stating that she was simply out for a morning jog.

56. What scientists thought was natural selection is actually only the continued survival of animals Watch_me Christine has found too chewy to eat.

57. Once a cobra bit Watch_me Christine's leg. After five days of excruciating pain, the cobra died.

58. Watch_me Christine can eat a rubix cube and crap it out solved.

59. Watch_me Christine has the heart of a child. She keeps it in a small box.

60. Watch_me Christine used to beat the crap out of her shadow because it was following to close. It now stands a safe 30 feet behind her.

61. Watch_me Christine doesn't have a computer. Just a basement full of Asian kids that memorize numbers.

62. Watch_me Christine doesn't play "hide-and-seek." She plays "hide-and-pray-I-don't-find-you."

63. Watch_me Christine once stated that she "doesn't wail on sissy boys." This led to the pink polo shirts with popped collars craze. Little do those pitiful fools know that Watch_me Christine was just making it easier to find sissy boys to wail on.

64. The grass is always greener on the other side, unless Watch_me Christine has been there. In that case the grass is most likely soaked in blood and tears.

65. Superman owns a pair of Watch_me Christine pajamas.

66. Watch_me Christine can tie her shoes with her feet.

67. Watch_me Christine can make a paraplegic run for her life.

68. Watch_me Christine can slam revolving doors.

69. Watch_me Christine was fired from the Psychic Friends Network for always predicting pain.

70. A Handicap parking sign does not signify that this spot is for handicapped people. It is
actually in fact a warning, that the spot belongs to Watch_me Christine and that you will be handicapped if you park there.

71. Crop circles are Watch_me Christine's way of telling the world that sometimes corn needs to lie the hell down.

72. The word "gay" derives from an old Latin phrase that roughly translates as "He who has not yet been introduced to Watch_me Christine."

73. Watch_me Christine always asks for the same Christmas gift: A box of Smurfs and a sledgehammer.

74. Watch_me Christine is the reason why Waldo is hiding.

75. When Watch_me Christine gives you the finger, she's telling you how many seconds you have left to live.

76. In an average living room there are 1,242 objects Watch_me Christine could use to kill you, including the room itself.

77. Watch_me Christine's blood type is WD-40.

78. Watch_me Christine is the only one who can "try this at home."

79. Santa Claus actually *did* exist until he accidentally skipped Watch_me Christine's house
one Christmas.

80. Watch_me Christine is able to rip a phone book in half with just one hand.

81. The United States Federal Reserve Bank decided that Watch_me Christine's basement was a much safer place for their gold than Fort Knox.

82. If at first you don't succeed, you must not be Watch_me Christine.

83. Watch_me Christine is currently suing NBC, claiming Law and Order are trademarked names for her left and right legs.

84. Watch_me Christine doesn't read books. She stares them down until she gets the information she wants.

85. When Watch_me Christine gets pulled over she lets the cop off with a warning.

86. The only time Watch_me Christine was wrong was when she thought she had made a mistake.

87. Watch_me Christine's family wraps her holiday presents in lead, so she can't see what's in them.

88. Watch_me Christine played Russian Roulette with a fully loaded gun and won.

89. The end result of the game "Clue" is always the same: Watch_me Christine was the
murderer, it was in the orphanage, and the weapon was a hamster.

90. Only once has Watch_me Christine ever cried. The only survivors were a bunch of animals and some dude named Noah.

91. Watch_me Christine is the only person in the world who can actually give 110%.

92. If you haven't seen Alien vs. Predator yet, don't bother, Watch_me Christine wins.

93. Watch_me Christine can set ants on fire with a magnifying glass. At night.

94. There is no theory of evolution, just a list of creatures Watch_me Christine allows to live.

95. When Watch_me Christine enters a room, she doesn't turn the lights on, she turns the dark

96. Watch_me Christine does not know where you live, but she knows where you will die.

97. Watch_me Christine was born with the right to party. Unlike the rest of us, who have to fight for it.

98. Watch_me Christine' dog is trained to pick up her own poop because Watch_me Christine will not take crap from anyone.

99. Watch_me Christine knows the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow (African *AND*

100. Watch_me Christine had a little lamb whose fleece was white as snow, and anywhere Watch_me Christine went the lamb was sure to go. So she killed it.

(Now go do your own, bitch)



We're moving again.

This time, it's a good thing. No, actually, a GREAT thing.

Through a confluence of events, a wonderful home has fallen into our laps. We are already crazy in love with it. It is on one of my favorite streets in our little town, we'll have lots of friends close by, it's super close to my son's school (and that means when my daughter starts kindergarten, we'll be in that school's boundaries, which we aren't now), it is bigger than the place we're in now and has a fabulous floor plan, and...wait for it...it has a POOL!!!

Suffice it to say, we are all giddy and thrilled. Not about the actual moving part, that sucks big, hairy donkey balls (or so I hear), but whatever. I have a couple of months before we are outta here, and I'm going to purge, purge, purge for the next weeks (except for the boatload of stuff I have to keep for home staging).

The past week has been awesome in so many ways...I won a Tootsie DVD from my bloggy crush Neil, this post of mine got a mention in the Houston Chronical and a nod from kirtsy, Shania from Craving Silence is sending me some books to read, and I won a shower timer from Crunchy Domestic Goddess.

Oh, and yeah...financially things are rocking. Well, they will be in the future...but things are definitely looking up.

I'm going with our luck is turning around here. Screw it, I'm becoming an optimist from this day forward.